Posts Tagged ‘waste’

Costa demonstrates why we need a latte levy

January 19, 2018

2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK.

What appear to be paper cups are not. They are lined-with plastic, and therein lies the problem, these plastic-lined paper cups cannot be recycled, if tossed in with paper, contaminates the paper with plastic.

Plastic pollution is killing the planet.

8 million tonnes of plastic are discarded into the oceans every year. The plastic accumulates. By 2050 the amount of plastic in the oceans will outweigh the fish. It is hazardous to sea life.

It is thanks to chains like Costa why we have a problem, they encourage a grab it and go, throw away consumerist culture.

Why are these cups sitting on a table, why was the coffee not served in a ceramic cup?

It demonstrates why we need a 25p latte levy, to be introduced at the next budget, why we must make it socially unacceptable the grab it and go coffee culture.

Please sign the petition calling on Michael Gove to introduce the 25p levy. And boycott chains which are lobbying hard to stop introduction of the latte levy.

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Reusable coffee cups are not the answer

January 16, 2018

Reusable coffee cups are not the answer to the growing waste problem of plastic pollution.

It seems to be that [reusable cups] are the best solution if we can get to that. — Caroline Lucas

In the UK, we throw away 2.5 billion coffee cups every year.

These coffee cups are not as first appears paper, they are paper lined with plastic and therein lies the problem, these plastic-lined coffee cups cannot be recycled and contribute to the growing problem of plastic pollution.

 

Contrary to what Caroline Lucas has claimed, reusable coffee cups are not the answer.

I have yet to be in a coffee shop and seen a reusable cup sold, let alone used. When I have inquired, I have been told take up is minimal, even when a substantial discount is on offer.

There is also as James Hoffman has drawn attention to, a hygiene problem if people bring in their own cups to be washed.

Compostable coffee cups of little use, unless a compost heap on which to deposit.

Resusable cups are expensive, bulky, inconvenient to carry around. With the exception of office workers popping out for a coffee to take back to the office and even then only if coupled with a discount, unlikely to have any impact.

Pret a Manger started the New Year with filter coffee at 49p a cup, a 50p discount if brought own cup. In the absence of any in-store information, lack of reusable cups on sale, will make little difference. Little more than a PR stunt.

Why are we not seeing any statistics published? I would expect to see a weekly report, to see what impact, if any, in reducing the use of plastic-lined takeaway cups.

Without seeing any results from Pret a Manger SumofUs have launched a petition asking that Costa follow suit.

This is tinkering at the edges, addressing the symptoms not the underlying problem.

The underlying problem is the grab it and go consumerist culture, encouraged by chains like Costa and Pret a Manger, it is what their businesses model is built on.

What we should be doing is encouraging relax with a cup of speciality coffee served from glass or ceramic in an indie coffee shop. Only then are we gong to reduce the plastic pollution.

We should also be pushing for the introduction of a 25p latte levy at the next Budget.

Please sign the petition calling on Michael Gove to introduce the 25p levy.

Latte Levy

January 5, 2018

The UK has woken up and smelled the coffee cup nightmare – and now there’s no way this horrendous and avoidable problem can be put back to sleep. — chef and environmental campaigner Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall

2.5 billion throwaway takeaway disposable coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK.

Prior to the Autumn Budget environmentalists proposed a 5p levy on takeaway coffee cups. It would not have made a jot of difference and was wisely rejected.

House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has proposed what has already been misleadingly dubbed a latte levy, misleading as not a tax on lattes, it is a tax on disposable coffee cups, a levy of 25p on plastic-lined disposable coffee cups.

These cups are not as first appears paper, they are paper with a plastic liner, which means they cannot be recycled, go to landfill or incineration, or are dumped in the street as litter.

Note: The pedantic may point out there are three plants in the UK that can recycle these plastic-lined cup. They would be correct, but who is going to separate out these cups and send to the the plants? Thus to all practical purposes, they are not recycled.

The Select Committee took evidence. Three chains refused to cooperate, the usual suspects, Pret a Manger, McDonald’s, and tax-dodging Caffe Nero.

Earlier in the week, Pret a Manger launched filter coffee at 49p a cup, a 50p discount if brought own cup. In the absence of in-store information and sale of reusable cups in Pret a Manger, has been dismissed as  a PR stunt.

There are available compostable paper cups. But, in the absence of a scheme to compost or a compost heap to drop the cup on, will join the waste stream.

Reusable cups are of limited value. Expensive to buy, often made of plastic, have to be carried around. They only come into their own if used when popping out of the office for a coffee to bring back to the office, and only then if a substantial discount is given for their use.

The chains are already lobbying hard to stop the latte levy, their business model is built on encouraging the grab it and go, takeaway, consumerist culture, which may be why Pret a Manger  launched a preemptive strike earlier in the week.

Please sign the petition calling on Michael Gove to introduce the 25p levy.

As always, it is the indie coffee shops who are leading the way.

What we have to do is discourage the take away culture. Compostable paper cups, reusable cups, is merely tackling the symptoms.

We have to encourage relaxing with a  cup of coffee at a coffee shop in ceramic or glass. There is then no requirement for a  takeaway cup.

Pret a Manger launch organic takeaway filter coffee at 49p a cup

January 2, 2018

I’m delighted you can now get 50p off a hot drink when you bring your reusable cup to Pret. I hope this will make a difference. — Pret a Manger chief executive Clive Schlee

As of today,  organic takeaway filter coffee from Pret a Manger at 49p a cup.

And the catch? Have to bring own cup for a refill.

Strictly speaking not a catch, it is to encourage use of reusable cups and discourage waste, reduce the number of plastic-lined throwaway cups that go to landfill or incineration.

Or is it?

In the absence of in-store information, no reusable cups on sale in store, store lacking the facility to relax with a coffee out of a ceramic cup, it will make little difference in the use of throwaway cups and will be seen as a PR stunt nothing more.

Note: Mainstream media carry the same story more or less word for word. That is what counts as journalism these days, cut and paste from a press release.

How long will this scheme last once the PR advantage has been milked? In 2016 tax-dodging Starbucks scrapped its own 50p discount for customers who bring their own cup just three months after it was introduced. It does of course raises the obvious question why would anyone who appreciates coffee wish to drink what is called coffee in Starbucks?

We need transparency, we need to see what the figures were before and after this scheme introduced.

Pret a Manger are not pioneers in this. Many indie coffee shops have been offering a discount if bring back a cup to be filled, the main difference, they have on sale resusable cups.

UK ships 500,000 tonnes of plastic to China every year. This is not recycling, this is dumping. China has said it will no longer take plastic waste from the UK.

The UK throws away 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups every year. The planet is being destroyed by plastic.

One of the first steps we can take is to eliminate the use of throwaway  plastic-lined takeaway coffee cups.

And that is the problem, the cups are lined with plastic, cannot be recycled, go to landfill or incineration or are thrown in the street.

Compostable paper cups are available. Fine, if on way home, drop off on the compost heap, but what if not, what then to do with the paper cup? It will end up in the waste stream.

Reusable cups, eg KeepCup, have  a role for office workers popping out for a coffee and taking back to the office. Beyond that limited use as bulky, expensive, and a pain to carry around.

This is to address the symptoms. What we have to do is discourage the grab it and go culture, which Pret a Manger encourages, and encourage relax in an indie coffee shop with a  cup of speciality coffee served in a ceramic cup.

Kaffeeform coffee cups

December 10, 2017

Coffee cups made from recycled coffee grounds.

What to do with coffee grounds?

The ideal use is to use as compost, add to the garden.

3fe use in their garden behind the coffee shop. What they do not use, Littlecress take away use for growing cress, 3fe buy the cress.

The coffee grounds can be used for growing oyster mushrooms.

In Small Batch they have on sale kits for growing oyster mushrooms.  When I saw, I was baffled,  but did not inquire.

Small Batch supply their coffee grounds to the Espresso Mushroom Company, a mushroom grower, who in turn, supply Small Batch with mushroom growing kits.

The coffee grounds can be used in cakes, instead of ground coffee.

Rosalie McMillan has created the Java Collection, a range of jewellery that uses recycled silver, gold and diamonds combined with material derived from coffee grounds.

Green Cup turn coffee grounds into furniture.

Kaffeeform turn coffee grounds into coffee cups.

The idea to make cups out of coffee grounds came from studying
Product Design in Bolzano, Italy. After countless cups of espresso,
the founder, Julian Lechner, wondered whether the leftover
coffee grounds couldn’t be used for something new.

After numerous trials and experiments, the first prototype of
an espresso cup made from coffee grounds was developed there
in 2009.

The cups are unusual as both reusable and recyclable.

One cup and saucer can be made from the grounds of six cups of espresso, plus natural resins, waxes, oils, cellulose, biopolymers and wood fibre.

The cups include biopolymers. The walls of all plant cells are made of biopolymers, long chain molecules with properties allowing them to be plastically formed, and thereby eliminate use of crude oil based plastics.

At the end of their life, Kaffeform can recycle the cups to form the raw material for 3D printing.

The cups are not 3D printed, are moulded, and 3D printing would probably be more suited to prototype development, but does raise the interesting possibility, if the cups were made available as open source hardware could they be 3D printed locally?

A further question, at the end of their life, can the cups be composted?

The coffee grounds are collected daily from cafés and caterers in
the Berlin area.

In addition to cups, they have now also made a takeaway cup.

A useful comparison would be with the HuskeeCup which uses coffee husks.

It would appear to be a better design than the HuskeeCup.

I have not seen let alone handled or used a Kaffeeform cup, therefore difficult to comment further. But certainly stylish. I would be more than happy to try.

Disposable coffee cups

November 28, 2017

In the UK we throw away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year.

…the thing we found with the glass-only to-go program, is that once people understood why we made that choice and the benefits of doing so, we’ve seen tremendous support and love for the program. – Zayde Naquib, Bar Nine

Often there are very simple things we can do … like relaxing in a coffee shop with a cup of coffee, not walking down the street with a takeaway cup in our hands.

Simple things, when we all act, can change the world.

If I go to a coffee shop, unless they know me, I am greeted with, to drink in or takeaway?

I can just about understand a cappuccino in a takeaway cup, but a single origin V60, no way.

I would not drink a good red wine in a disposable cup, I object to beer in a plastic glass, why would I wish to drink a single origin V60 in a takeaway cup?

These takeaway cups are often referred to as paper cups. They are not, they have a plastic liner, and it is this plastic liner that makes them take a one way trip to incarceration or landfill, as they cannot be recycled.

OK for the pedantic, maybe a couple of plants that can recycle, but, no one is going to take the effort to separate out, therefore for all practical purposes, cannot be recycled, and are therefore on a one way trip to landfill or incineration.

That is a lot of disposable cups. One estimate puts the figure at 2.5 billion throwaway coffee cups every year in the UK.

According to a recent article in fake-left Guardian, environment department Defra using 1400 disposable coffee cups every day.

There can be no excuse for this, not when from their own internal canteens, nor for House of Commons or House of Lords.

It also means it can easily be tackled.

Bulk order KeepCups, sell to staff at a discount. Staff have to bring their own mugs or KeepCups if they wish to buy a drink.

KeepCups with Defra logo together with a few words on recycling could be handed to visitors.

Defra should look to the Bank of England. Staff were encouraged to either purchase a KeepCup or bring their own mug, for which they received a small discount of 10p. 10p was chosen as it was self-financing, cost neutral, it covered the actual cost of the disposable cup. The KeepCups have the Bank of England logo.

Lush in Australia and New Zealand gave all their employees a KeepCup in vibrant Lush colours as a Christmas present.

Disposable cups are lined with polyethylene and have a polystyrene lid, there is sufficient plastic in 28 disposable cups to make one small KeepCup.

In 2009, Simon Lockrey from the Centre for Design at RMIT completed a Symapro Life Cycle Analysis which has independently verified KeepCup sustainability claims.

Research by Canadian chemist Dr Martin Hocking found the break-even energy requirement to manufacture a reusable plastic cup versus a paper cup over a lifetime use was under 15 uses.

A captive audience at Lush, Bank of England or Defra is relatively easy to eliminate the use of disposable cups, what of the passing trade in the street?

A few coffee shops offer a discount if use your own cup. I found one offering a a substantial discount. But these are rare and makes little difference on the use of disposable cups

Coffee shops have KeepCups on sale. I have seen the cheap plastic ones in Harris + Hoole and at FCB kiosk, the more expensive glass in Coffee Island flagship store in Covent Garden.

I mention KeepCup, as they are the industry leaders. There are alternatives. I have seen a bamboo version of a KeepCup.

I have yet to see anyone walk in a coffee shop and buy a KeepCup, let alone walk in and request a refill of their KeepCup.

HuskeeCup made from coffee bean husks is unusual in that it is reusable and recyclable. If not made at country of origin, questionable environmental credentials, and even more questionable the husks are being sourced from Burma, a major human rights violator.

The cups are around $10 each, not including a saucer.

The coffee shop, it may have been a kiosk, that was offering a substantial discount, maybe half price, I asked were there any takers. I think a couple of takers, that was all.

Ben, at Ben’s Records, pops to the adjacent coffee shop with a mug.

Prior to Budget November 2017, it was suggested impose a levy of 5p on takeaway cups, cf 5p levy on plastic bags which has reduced use of plastic bags. It was not taken up.

I doubt it would make a difference, not when the takeaway coffee is cheaper than drinking in.

Tax has various functions, raising revenue, changing behaviour.

The principle the polluter must pay be would be grounds for imposing a levy.

Let us assume a tax on takeaway cups of 10p, levied on 2.5 billion throwaway coffee cups that would raise an annual £250 million, not a paltry sum.

There are recyclable paper cups, that can be composted, but I do not see them in use. There is though a problem. If a few unlikely coincidences occur, I am on my way home, have coffee from a kiosk that serves coffee in a compostable paper cup, I have been to the market and can drop my cup in my bag with the fruit and vegetables, else where do I put the cup, and if I remember when I get home to remove from the bag with my fresh produce, then yes I can throw on my compost heap.

But if not, if these happy but unlikely coincidences do not align, then what do I do with this cup? Throw it on the nearest waste bin. That is the dilemma most will face, what to do with the cup? It is unlikely to be composted, even though it could be. It will go into the waste stream with all the other non-recyclable cups.

In Athens and Cyprus, it is the norm to see people drinking from a takeaway cup. The worst offenders are Coffee Island (Greek equivalent of Starbucks) and Coffee Berry, two chains which serve coffee in disposable cups.

At Jamie’s Coffee at Gatwick Airport, Italian catering supply coffee served in takeaway cups.

Personally I would not buy a coffee in a takeaway cup, I prefer to sit down and relax with a cup of coffee, not drink on the hoof, which I find uncivilised, apart from the very act of drinking out of a takeaway cup as opposed to a ceramic cup or from a glass.

That is not to say I never. I will have a coffee from FCB kiosk at Guildford Station or the Small Batch kiosk outside Brighton Station or the little kiosk on the South Bank at the foot of Hungerford Bridge or Ethiopian Coffee Roasters on the South Bank Street Food Market, but only because these three kiosks and one stall serve excellent coffee, not because I wish to grab and go.

Kaya has a narrow bar, barely wide enough to balance a cup, the ground slopes, pick the height that suits you. There are no seats. The coffee shop is long and narrow, with no room for seats. Stools outside to sit at the bar not possible as the ground slopes. I was the only one drinking out of a cup. All I saw were office workers, grabbing a takeaway coffee on their way home.

Coffee shops must do do more. They could voluntarily refuse to serve coffee in a takeaway cup.

Bar Nine does not serve coffee in takeaway cups. If you really need to take away your coffee and not sit and relax with your coffee, they will lend you a glass jar and trust you to return it on your next visit.

Nova Gea serves fresh fruit juices in jars.

Eden Cafe does not serve coffee in takeaway cups. It buys ceramic cups from local charity shops, the cost about the same as a takeaway cup, which customers can take away if they wish.

I have seen beautiful china tea sets in a charity shop. I recommended to a local tea shop they bought them. Not for everyday use, for special occasions when groups come in to celebrate.

We could turn the serving of coffee on its head, charge more for a takeaway coffee than if sit and relax with a coffee.

This sounds impossible, pigs may fly, and yet Lemonjello’s Coffee do just that, charge more for a takeaway coffee.

You pay for the cost of the takeaway cup, it is built into the price, it is not made explicit. Why not make it explicit? Why not separate out as airlines do with luggage? You pay for your seat, want to take luggage that is an additional charge. You pay for your coffee, want something to carry it away with, that is an extra charge.

If I drink a coffee, I wish to sit down and relax in a coffee shop with my coffee in a ceramic cup, whether or not a saucer a moot point. If V60, Chemex or Japanese syphon, in a glass.

I do not like carting stuff around, if had a KeepCup I would have to cart it around. Then I would leave it somewhere and lose it.

Where I think a KeepCup comes into its own, is for office workers and shop workers who pop out for a takeaway coffee, then yes, they should be using a KeepCup.

I like to post pictures of the coffee shops, the coffee served. But not on Instagram, they claim rights to the pictures, and Instagram not visible on twitter.

What looks more photogenic, a takeaway cup or a ceramic cup or a glass?

To put your image, logo, marketing crap on a disposable cup is to associate your message with trash, it is saying you are ephemeral, transient, worthless. But then is that not true of most marketing?

One person using one paper coffee cup a day is the equivalent of a tree being cut down each year to produce those cups.

Why do we not value the coffee we drink? If we would not dream of drinking wine out of a disposable cup, why do we treat coffee in this way?

The only way this can be tackled, is to ban the use of disposable takeaway cups, coupled with information on why they are being banned.

The takeaway cups are not the only waste coffee shops generate. What of the coffee grounds? These can be used on the garden, used in cakes.

A couple of coffee shops, at my suggestion, have made the grounds available for people to take away. The take up has bordered on zero.

3fe recycles waste, compost bins, using waste milk, sources local food, chaff from the coffee roasting process is used by a local supplier to smoke bacon.

Coffee grounds are used on their garden out the back, what they do not use, a local cress grower Littlecress uses, who then supplies them with cress.

Steaming milk for a cappuccino wastes a lot of milk. 3fe use for making yogurt.

Coffee industry, the speciality end, has quite rightly focused on the supply chain, traceability, transparency, quality, accountability, from farm, through roastery to the coffee shop and what is poured into our cup.

We now must ask what happens, beyond the coffee shop.

Underlying all this and more fundamental, is the grab it and go culture, pointless consumerism, a throw away culture. The consumer culture that keeps the economy afloat.

Consumer junk passes from extraction to factory, six months in the home, then on its one way trip to incineration or landfill.

Until that is tackled, we will have a problem, and not only limited to coffee cups.

Apple screws its acolytes … yet again

January 12, 2016

Apple is about to rip off over every one of its customers. Yet again.

high end headphones 3.5mm gold-plated jack

high end headphones 3.5mm gold-plated jack

Apple likes to project a lovely cuddly trendy image.

The reality is different.

Their products are of shoddy construction.

Phones and tablets now lag behind Android devices.

Products are sourced from Chinese sweatshops, where the conditions are so bad, every worker has to sign a contract they will not commit suicide, the top of buildings are surrounded by fencing to stop the workers throwing themselves off the roof.

Android devices, be they phones or tablets, have a standard usb port. This means cables and chargers are interchangeable between devices. Indeed it is not even necessary to supply a charger, assume the customer has a charger, or will buy one. This reduces waste, reduces cost, reduces shipping costs.

Not though Apple. Apple has its own proprietary non-standard connector for tablets and phones, not only that, there is no commonality between earlier and later devices.  And if rumours are to be believed, Apple are to move away from the industry standard 3.5mm headphone socket.

headphone jacks 3.5mm and 6.35mm

headphone jacks 3.5mm and 6.35mm

telephone operators

telephone operators

1/4 inch gold-plated stereo headphone jack

1/4 inch gold-plated stereo headphone jack

The 1/4 inch jack (6.35mm) has a long history. It was used by Bell, Post Office to connect calls.  Look at old films, where you will see the operator connecting calls.

It has a long history. Maybe as far back as 1878.

With the advent of stereo, an extra ring was added.

For the transistor radio, the 1/4 jack was too big, the 3.5mm jack was introduced.  It was then used in the Sony Walkman, CD players, phones and tablets.

High end audio still uses the 1/4 inch jack for amplifiers,  CD decks, tape decks. Guitars use the 1/4 inch jack to plug into amplifiers and sound decks.

High end headphones, for example  open Sennheiser headphones,  use a gold-plated  3.5mm jack, which fits into a 1/4 inch jack.

Standardisation leads to interoperatability, reduces waste. But not if you are Apple.

Apple is showing its usual contempt for it acolytes by doing away with the 3.5mm jack, forcing to either buy an expensive inferior Apple product, or waste money on an expensive adapter to use existing kit.

If Apple acolytes are stupid enough to be ripped off yet again by Apple, forcing them to ditch their existing headphones, or now have two pairs for different devices, it will lead to a growing mountain of electronic waste.

According to the United Nations, up to 90% of the world’s electronic waste is illegally traded or dumped each year. We need to bring more care and attention to this growing issue — not aggravate it through reckless, profit-driven decisions that will deliver countless perfectly usable items straight to the landfill.

But what does Apple care about the environment? It does not care about the toxic materials used in the manufacture of its devices, harming people and planet.

This has not surprisingly caused growing outrage.

But it does not stop there. Apple makes it nigh impossible to repair their phones even going so far to use non-standard screws.

And if all this was not bad enough, they dodge tax.

So why do Apple do this? It is not technological innovation. It is greed, pure and simple, yet another opportunity to screw the consumer.

The approach taken by FairPhone is the opposite end of the spectrum to Apple. Better working conditions, conflict free materials, phone of modular construction enabling easy repair. And they do not supply either cable or charger, assuming you already have. The main criticism of their latest phone, FairPhone II, delivery of which has been delayed until at least February, is that it is somewhat dated for the high price.

In terms of performance and price, it would be hard pushed to beat OnePlus Two and OnePlus X.

Please sign the petition calling upon Apple not to jack in the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Real Junk Food Project Brighton

April 20, 2015

How much would you pay for food in a cafe which does not have any prices on the menu? And how would you decide what the price should be, if you knew the food you were going to be served was originally destined for the bin? That’s the dilemma facing customers of a new wave of cafes opening around the country. — Juliet Stott, The Guardian

Following on from the success of Skipchen in Bristol and Transition Community Cafe in Fishguard the idea is spreading.

The concept is simple, intercept food that would otherwise go to waste and serve up as delicious food on a pay-what-you-like basis. Even if you pay nothing, you have still contributed as you have stopped food going to waste.

Real Junk Food Brighton is currently in an embryonic stage, they serve up fresh crushed juices at the farmers market in Churchill Square (to be replaced by a second pop up café), a pop up café in a church, but they need something more permanent.

They are using crowdfunding to raise the funds, but sadly it has been very illthought through in what they are offering as incentives. One obvious would be a meal when open.

They would have been wiser to use StartJoin or FairCoin, both of which support support community projects.

FairCoin and Robin Hood Hedge Fund are looking for projects like Real Junk Food Brighton to give money to.

Where will it be? They do not say. The obvious location would be in North Laine, as there are lots of visitors, and they would carry away the idea.

I would hope if they serve coffee, they source high quality coffee beans, and employ a skilled barista. Look to Taylor St Baristas.

I would question why the famers market is held in Churchill Square, where it is tacky High Street chains. North Laine would be a far superior location.

Russell Brand has recently opened the Trew Era Cafe in Hoxton (Hackney).

The concept of social enterprises is spreading, grass-roots, community owned and run, serving the needs of the local economy. We now need to see them network with each other. The gift, sharing ecenomy, collaborative commons in action.

Real Junk Food Brighton will not be the first zero-waste restaurant in Brighton. That accolade goes to Silo in North Laine, for which The Guardian had a highly pretentious review.

Pay what you think it is worth is not restricted to restaurants and intercepted food turned into delicious meals. It works in music too. Many of the artists on bandcamp operate on a pay what you think it is worth, with the fans having the option to pay more. And it works, the artists do not get ripped off.

Zero waste supermarket

June 9, 2014

I find annoying, when I go into a supermarket and find everything is shrink-wrapped and overpackaged. One of the worst offenders is M&S who then have the gall to charge 5p for a plastic bag. They claim this goes to environmental charities. It does not, only 1p, and I doubt even that. It is greenwash by M&S, and an opportunity to rip off gullible customers.

And where fruit and vegetable are sold loose, as for example Waitrose or Lidl, why am I forced to use plastic bags, why not paper (which I can recycle on the compost heap)?

One reason why I buy off markets, it is seasonal, cheaper and fresher, and I can pop in a paper bag. At least I could. I notice some stalls are switching to plastic, which is a retrograde step.

Americans produce an unbelievable three pounds of trash every day. I do not produce that in a week, probably not in a month.

It is therefore good news, that a German supermarket Original Unvertpackt has moved to zero waste. The launch of the supermarket has been through crowd funding.

Customers are invited to bring in their own bags and bottles.

I remember Neals Yard Wholefoods, in an old warehouse in Neals Yard in Covent Garden. Everything was in bulk, you shovelled out what you wanted. Freshly ground peanut butter in large jars.

Original Unvertpackt is only a small step in the right direction. We have to recognise an end to growth, an end to the purchasing of worthless stuff, that goes on a one-way trip from mining, sweat production, sitting in the house for six months, then on its way to landfill or recycling.

M&S cynical exercise in greenwash

April 26, 2012
M&S CEO Marc Bolland and Joanna Lumley at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London for the launch of new campaign 'Shwopping'.

M&S CEO Marc Bolland and Joanna Lumley at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London for the launch of new campaign 'Shwopping'.

I listened with growing incredulity to the M&S breathtaking crass hypocrisy and exercise in greenwash on You and Yours BBC Radio 4 this lunchtime.

M&S are shedding crocodile tears at the amount of clothes that are dumped every year in landfill. A billion items of clothing they claim. Their solution is that we take all our unwanted clothes to M&S for recycling, and no doubt replace with new clothes whilst we are there.

Cut out the middle man, take your clothes direct to a charity shop.

Support slow fashion, not fast fast; dress for style, not fashion; buy quality, not rubbish.

Is it necessary to replace what is in a wardrobe every few months with new clothes?

In M&S their food is over-packaged. I suggest we return all our packaging to M&S.

M&S charge 5p for a plastic carrier bag. Read carefully the small print: Only 1p goes to an environmental charity. This a cynical ploy to milk the customer and to distract from their over-packaging.

Why no paper bags in M&S for our loose fruit and vegetables? The bags can then be recycled or composted.

The stuff we buy spends less than six months in our homes before it continues on its one-way linear trip to landfill or incinerator.

The Story of Stuff

M&S compared the recycling of clothes through their stores with the successful recycling of glass bottles! When was the last time anyone took a glass bottle back? We recycle glass, not bottles!

Yes, we need to reduce our waste and energy consumption. We do so by reducing consumption and increasing recycling, not by taking our unwanted clothes to M&S and whilst we are there replacing old for new.

When you donate to charity shops, choose the smaller charities who do not throw away after a couple of weeks what you have taken the trouble to donate. Avoid Oxfam and British Heart Foundation who rip off customers with the prices they charge. Another reason to avoid Oxfam is that they are the partners in this greenwash scheme with M&S to encourage increased consumption.

Are people really this gullible that they fall for a cynical exercise in greenwash?

Shwoping is a slick marketing campaign to encourage easily led fools to empty their wardrobes and run off down to M&S to buy more clothes. Green it is not.

A green campaign, which shwopping claims to be, would encourage slow fashion, to buy quality, to value our clothes, not throw them away.

Shwoping is not sustainable fashion.

Slow fashion’ was coined by Kate Fletcher. It has evolved from slow food, is part of the slow movement.

Do we recycle enough of our clothes?
Disposable clothes
Oxfam rips off its customers (yet again)
M&S launches ‘shwopping’ scheme
Joanna Lumley joins M&S to launch shwopping
Joanna Lumley launches Marks & Spencer’s Shwopping campaign